If someone asked you to use your browser to mine cryptocurrency, you would probably scorn at him as this tactic got negative connotations because hackers and malware sites used it. However, this same mining option can be used for good and that is exactly what UNICEF Australia is seemingly trying to do.
The charity has created something called The HopePage, which allows people to make a donation while they’re on the site by simply keeping the webpage open. While the page is open, it will use your computer’s CPU to mine digital coins via an application called Coinhive, which mines Monero.
The longer you keep the browser open, the more processor power is donated, which means more algorithms get solved, earning cryptocurrency.
The website states that it allows visitors to select how much processing power, between 20 to 80 percent, they want to contribute to the mining process.
“Mining is perfectly safe for your computer. If you’re ever worried about power consumption, turn down the amount of processing power you’re donating.”
The UNICEF initiative’s website gives instructions on how the mining works, and gives assurance that ‘mining is perfectly safe for your computer’:
The longer you stay on the page and the more processor power you donate, the more algorithms get solved, which earns cryptocurrency. Mining is perfectly safe for your computer. If you’re ever worried about power consumption, turn down the amount of processing power you’re donating.
The cryptocurrency is automatically donated to UNICEF Australia and is turned into real funds that reach children through life-saving supplies like safe water, therapeutic food and vaccines. Turn the Hopepage into your homepage to give every day.
Coinhive has previously faced heat as their app was found running a malware that affected more than 50,000 websites — the crypto-jacking software enabled the websites to mine Monero using their visitor’s computing power without users’ consent.
Coinhive gained some legitimacy when it rolled-out the opt-in feature that ensured that mining won’t activate until the user specifically choses to do so. This allowed such services to be seen as a better ad-free alternative to existing revenue models for websites.
Now that UNICEF uses their software for a humanitarian cause, this will likely give them further legitimacy and expose them to greater acceptance among users.